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Getting Tossed =/= Winning Games

One of those age old myths is that a manager getting ejected from a game can will his team to victory. Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox is the all-time leader in ejections, and his players seem to buy into it:

"Whether it's a string of base hits or we get our brains beat in," Jones said, "one way or another, it seems like momentum turns whenever he (Cox) gets ejected."  

In that same article writer Brian Walton looked at the rankings of ejections and wins of the top 10 all-time. Surprisingly - or perhaps not - the leader in ejections per games managed, Bill Dahlen in nearly 11% of his total games, was last in winning, meanwhile the least ejected, Tony LaRussa, was fifth in victories.

We see manager ejections on highlight reels constantly, the more vulgar the better, kicking dirt on the umpire? Excellent, crawling and throwing rosin bag grenades? Everyone will know your name within a week.

Taking the 2007 season and number of ejections per managers I decided to see just how much validity the adage that managers getting tossed igniting their teams to victory holds.  By taking each manager ejection account and seeing their team's record in the games compared to their seasonal winning percentage we try and establish if there's any relationship between the two.

Take Terry Francona, his team won the World Series and 96 games during the regular season, he was also tied for second place in manager ejections, yet his team only won half of the games he got tossed from. Seattle managers Mike Hargrove and Jim McLaren got tossed in three games total, each was in a Seattle blowout loss. Manny Acta of Washington saw one game from the showers, his team won that game - does that mean he's a master motivator? Same with Joe Torre, the Yankees were 2-0 in games he got rang up.

League-wide there must be one winner and one loser in each game, meaning a 50% win/loss record overall, in games where at least one manager is ejected teams won 30 of 68 cases, a 44.1% of victory. Below the chart shows the correlation between winning teams and ejections - showcasing the pure randomness of winning a game in which your manager has been ejected.

The results shouldn't be too much of a shock; after all most ejections fall into two situations could lead to an ejection: either a manager is upset at a close call in a tight game or a manager is tired of seeing a lackluster effort from his team and gets thrown out. One thing is clear; there's no "right" temperamental for a manager if he wants to win, each manager was tossed at least once, but each had varying team results.

Scout Article
2007 Ejections